Rebecca Downes – More Sinner Than Saint

More Sinner Than Saint Cover

Rebecca Downes – More Sinner Than Saint
Mad Hat Records
Release Date: 24/05/2019
Running time: 59:33
Review by Paul Monkhouse
10/10

The Midlands has always been a hotbed for musical talent. When you consider that the area saw the birth of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Magnum amongst world beating others, you can now add another name to that prestigious list: Wolverhampton based Rebecca Downes. Whilst she has been solidly touring with the likes of The Quireboys and (the aforementioned) Magnum and putting out great albums, this latest should see her most definitely promoted to the big league. “More Sinner Than Saint” mixes her blues rock styling with a hefty dose of AOR and this potent brew of balls and soul is so well written and produced that it stands head and shoulders above most of the releases this year.

‘Take Me Higher’ opens the album and immediately impresses with its huge sound and epic scope. The insistent guitar gives way to Downes rich vocals and swirling keys, leading to an absolutely hook filled chorus that will have you singing it for days. This is all covered in the sort of gloss that the very best of the classic 80’s rock songs boasted and is equally memorable. It should be pointed out though that this is not just an exercise in nostalgia but very much a modern album that will appeal to a wide audience due to the quality of the whole package, not just the echoes of the past. ‘Chains Fall Down’ impresses with its aching vocals, great playing by the assembled musicians and its superb, slowly building structure and ‘Screaming Your Name’ is incredibly passionate, a world-beating track dripping with real soul but eschewing any overwrought guitar soloing that so often plagues other big rock ballads.

Rocker ‘Hurts’ lets loose and is full of ballsy grit, revealing the more primeval rock ‘n’ roll side of Downes and co-writer and guitarist Steve Birkett whilst Magnum main man Tony Clarkin returns the favour of Downes appearing on their recent live album to play some beautifully fluid guest guitar on ‘Breathe Out’. Already a fan favourite live, ‘Wave Them Goodbye’ sees multi-instrumentalist Birkett not only play some great slide guitar but unleash his impressive vocal chops in this, the albums only duet. Whilst it is Downes name on the cover, her musical partnership with him is the key to their success as they complement each other in the same way that Jagger and Richards and Plant and Page mastered, the perfect combination of singer and guitarist and this chemistry is perfectly highlighted on the album.

The titular ‘More Sinner Than Saint’ is all you could want it to be, starting with a church organ this is upbeat song laced with dark lyrics captures something halfway between Fleetwood Mac and Heart in its big sound and delivery. King King’s Alan Nimmo guests on ‘If I Go to Sleep’ and it’s another, harder rocking tune that stomps its size 11’s all over you and mixes sweet female vocals with rougher male ones. Nimmo’s solo sounds huge and the fact that Downes and Birkett can call upon him and Clarkin to guest on this release speaks volumes and new Magnum keys player Rick Benton plays throughout, all adding their own magic to the recordings whilst not putting anyone in the shade. Here, the music is the thing and egos are left at the door.

‘Stand on My Feet’ transports you to the Deep South, swaying in the summer heat whilst the landscape shimmers and chrome glistens under a beating sun. For anyone who fell in love with Alannah Myles first album, there is so much to enjoy here and this track brings to mind that magnificent debut, all southern sensuality, road trips to New Orleans and long, cold beers. ‘Big Sky’ ups the tempo again from the languid pacing of the previous track and has a real bite and groove and the sort of production that Mutt Lange gave Def Leppard, Shania Twain et al. The album continues in such a strong vein and finishes with ‘In Reverse’ which features an absolutely sky-scraping vocal from Downes and the hugely powerful ‘With Me’. This closing track is probably the most affecting one of the album and ends it on an emotional high, a song of promise, hope and protection that is so intensely emotional that you may well find yourself with a tear in your eye at the end of it. All the very best music should move us is one way or another and in ‘With Me’ you have a classic love song that never falls into clichéd moments but genuinely touches the soul and shows that you don’t have to be loud to be powerful, eschewing bluster for genuine heart. In “More Sinner Than Saint” Rebecca Downes has made not just the album of her career so far but one that will stand the test of time as a genuine classic. Without any doubt, one of the finest releases this year.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Take Me Higher
02. Chains Fall Down
03. Screaming Your Name
04. Hurts
05. Breathe Out
06. Wave Them Goodbye
07. More Sinner Than Saint
08. If I Go To Sleep
09. Stand On My Feet
10. Big Sky
11. In Reverse
12. With Me

LINKS:
https://www.rebeccadownes.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaDownes/

https://www.instagram.com/rebeccadownesuk/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5lTgFnkkf5YMEy9v2p_WFQ

 

Rebecca Downes Pic

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Black Paisley – Perennials

perennials cover

Black Paisley – Perennials
Self-Released
Release Date: 27/09/2018
Running Time: 51:12
Review By Chris Galea
8/10

Black Paisley are a Swedish band named after the Fender signature model guitar of Ritchie Sambora in Bon Jovi. And in fact you often hear connections with Bon Jovi throughout this album. Since I’m name-dropping…the lead vocals in “Perennials” sometimes reminded me of James Christian (House Of Lords) and comparisons with Thunder also seem inevitable.

But despite being very song-oriented and mainstream-friendly, “Perennials” is somewhat elusive when one comes to categorise its music and for me this is one of its main attractions. From catchy sing-along choruses to subtle but effective uses of keyboards and onto brilliant uses of choir vocals and Rock songs with punch…there’s more to this album than meets the eye. Then there are a couple of excellent piano-ballads, one of which is ‘Stronger’ – incidentally this is also the album’s strongest track (‘scuse my pun). Melancholy, vitality, Hard Rock, Blues Rock, AOR…there really is much to enjoy in this album.

On the other hand, since “Perennials” is very traditional in nature, it’s unlikely to have you gawping in amazement. But then again you never know. Personally, after an overdose of Metal, it feels right to keep testosterone levels in check with something like this.

TRACKLISTING:
1. I Want Your Soul
2. Day By Day
3. Sometimes
4. Mother
5. Miss Me
6. Without You
7. Step Back
8. Trying
9. Out Of My Life
10. Alone
11. Think
12. Stronger

LINE-UP:
Stefan Blomqvist – lead vocal and guitar
Ulf Hedin – guitars
Jan Emanuelsson – bass
Robert Wirensjö – keyboards
Mikael Kerslow – drums and percussion

LINKS:
http://www.blackpaisley.se/
https://www.facebook.com/blackpaisleys/

https://www.instagram.com/blackpaisley_band/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4p95d5wKIhEIdPT7acH5dA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CQaSeaKYTI (‘I Want Your Soul’ – Official Video)

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.